Do you know some of the most stressful life events someone could experience? Those events include a job loss/change, moving, a serious illness or injury, or the death of a loved one. While these events are clearly overwhelming and may require extra help and grace, there are many ways to navigate these life changes in a healthy and confident way. We want to share 5 ways help you and your spouse navigate serious life changes for this year:
Communicate Well - First and foremost, it is key to share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse about the changes that are going on. Depending upon the change, it may be difficult to clearly express your feelings, but even sharing that sets you up for clear communication. Changes can instill a lack of peace and fear in your spouse. Being willing to pause and listen without the need for always responding opens the door to a deeper vulnerability that will strengthen your marriage during this time of change.
Making Priorities Together - As Dr. Amber Curtis said in the Fairest Love Podcast, clearly defining your priorities and choosing what to say “no” to will really help in seeing the change in a more holistic view. There are activities and events that you may desire to do, but in light of the changes your family may be going through, it may not be prudent to do them. Speaking with your spouse about the goals and priorities you wish to accomplish together will center your shared mission and help you be more flexible when navigating a serious change.
Emphasize Quality Time - In the midst of stressful situations and changes, we may feel the pull to isolate or “figure things out” on our own. While alone time may be a fruitful opportunity to manage feelings, if done in excess it can lead to distance and disconnect with your spouse. During these serious life changes, focusing on those moments together without your children, whether that’s monthly date nights or morning coffees, strengthens your bond and builds trust in your spouse. That quality time helps you see that you can navigate those changes!
Take Time for Self - As said before, isolation or extended periods of alone time can be more detrimental to your marriage rather than helpful. But intentional times of recharging and “self care” will help you show up better for your spouse and manage your feelings and emotions. Self care can be as easy as taking a walk outside or reading a favorite book. If you’re an extrovert, spending time with your family before bed can also help you recharge!
Seek Professional Guidance - If the fears and overwhelm of big life changes is too much to bear, it may be time to seek guidance from a trustworthy and reliable source such as a licensed therapist, coach, and especially a spiritual director. A lot of times we can get stuck in our thoughts and have no way of thinking outside of what we’re used to. Pursuing additional help as a couple may help in changing your thoughts, forming your spiritual muscles, and improving in trust of your spouse and God.
Changes in life are an opportunity to grow both spiritually and physically, as well as in the capacity of relationships. Being intentional with communication with your spouse, quality time, self care, and appropriate guidance can help you in finding peace during these times of change.